Tigers Back from Break

CLEMSON – On the first day of practice since returning from Spring Break, the Clemson football team donned shoulder pads and helmets, in what Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden described as a very spirited session on Monday.

"I really was surprised," Bowden said. "I thought we had a pretty good day for the first day. We took about 11 days off and the enthusiasm was good and the effort was good. I thought we got a lot done today."

When searching for answers as to why the seriousness and sharpness the players had in practice, Bowden came to one conclusion, which should bode well from now throughout the 2006 season.

"Having 13 fifth-year seniors maybe had a little bit to do with it," he said.

One of those fifth-year guys is quarterback Will Proctor, who spent his off-season working with Tom Shaw, the New England Patriots' speed and conditioning coach since 2001.

During his workouts in his hometown of Orlando, Fla., Proctor spent nearly each day of his time away from school going through drills with players from the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.

There's no question Proctor is looking to make the most of his one season as the team's leader on offense.

Another reason Bowden was happy with practice is because with the exception of backup center Barry Humphries, who sustained a high ankle sprain in a scrimmage prior to Spring Break, everybody practiced and is healthy.

Bowden plays waiting game
Bowden said there is one position he's waiting on for someone to emerge as the true star. And considering the position, there are plenty of options.

"The biggest thing is I'm anxious to see which of those young defensive linemen kind of separate from the pack," he said. "I'd like to see which one takes initiative and tries to separate (and say) I'm a little better than these other guys. I'd like to see one of them or two of them mentally take the challenge and be the difference maker."

Extra points
Bowden said that the battle for a starting linebacker spot between Antonio Clay and Tremaine Billie has been a good one. He cited Clay for his performance during the scrimmage prior to the break. … Bowden also said he likes Kavell Conner, who plays middle linebacker. "He's going to be a good one," Bowden said.

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